Who Is Supporting Homeless Youth?

Predictors of Support in Personal Networks

Published in: Journal of Research on Adolescence, v. 22, no. 4, Dec. 2012, p. 604-616

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012

by Kayla de la Haye, Harold D. Green, David P. Kennedy, Annie Jie Zhou, Daniela Golinelli, Suzanne L. Wenzel, Joan S. Tucker

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Homeless youth lack the traditional support networks of their housed peers, which increases their risk for poor health outcomes. Using a multilevel dyadic analytic approach, this study identified characteristics of social contacts, relationships, and social networks associated with the provision of tangible and emotional support to homeless youth (N = 419, M age = 20.09, SD = 2.80). Support providers were likely to be family members, sex partners, or non–street-based contacts. The provision of support was also associated with contacts' employment and homelessness status, frequency of contact, shared risk behaviors, and the number of network members that were homeless and employed. The results provide insights into how homeless youth could be assisted to develop more supportive social networks.

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